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3 Common Worst-Case Dental Scenarios

HomePreventative Dentistry3 Common Worst-Case Dental Scenarios


Everyone loves having a beautiful smile filled with healthy, strong teeth. While teeth may seem very resilient, chances are that eventually some issues are going to present themselves requiring some special attention and care. Though some dental problems may feel or look like a big deal, they are most likely fairly common and dealt with far easier than expected. At Edgewater Dental Arts, Dr. John Cutting and our knowledgeable staff are ready to help with all your dental concerns. Listed below are three common worst-case dental scenarios and what we can do about them.

1. Chipped Teeth

A chipped tooth can happen for many reasons. Eating a nut or a hard piece of candy, accidental blows to the mouth while playing sports, or a simple slip and fall can all easily cause a chipped tooth. Regardless of the reason, a chipped tooth can feel ragged, look unsightly, and even present a danger of cutting into lips or tongue due to sharp edges. When a tooth becomes chipped it’s important to see a dentist soon after to avoid further damage.

Fixing a chipped tooth can be as simple as shaving down a ragged edge when the chip is very tiny. In some cases, we may have to fill or bond the chip. If the chip is on an inside tooth, we may choose to simply do a filling, similar to how we’d deal with a cavity. If the chip is visible in one of the front teeth, we may opt to bond the tooth. Bonding involves attaching a tooth colored resin with a strong adhesive to the chip, and then filing or buffing the resin so it looks a part of the real tooth. Usually it’s hard to tell the tooth ever suffered a chip to begin with. This process is simple and usually does not require numbing agents.

In some instances where decay is present or the tooth is very badly broken, we may have to place a crown or perform a root canal. However, in most cases where the chip is small and the rest of the tooth isn’t additionally compromised, these options are not necessary.

2. Cracked Teeth

In addition to chips, teeth can crack due to pressure from eating hard foods, accidental blows to the face, or old fillings causing stress inside the tooth. One of the tell-tale signs of a cracked tooth is pain when biting down. It’s important to see a dentist to evaluate the situation via X-ray and determine a course of action. In cases where a silver filling caused a crack, it is possible some teeth can be rebuilt using bonding and a less stressful tooth-colored filling. However, in cases where the crack is deep and close to the nerve, a crown is usually necessary. It is important to note that a tooth that has decay as a result of a crack will most likely need a root canal.

3. Loss of a Filling

Fillings aren’t meant to last forever. Sometimes it’s just time to replace them, and other times you may develop decay around the filling. Regardless of the reason behind the loss of a filling, we must first check for additional decay, and then replace the filling as soon as possible. If you can’t see us immediately, it’s important to clean the hole where the filling was as thoroughly as possible to avoid getting food trapped in the area. If the missing filling is causing pain or sensitivity, consider taking over-the-counter pain relievers to help minimize discomfort.

Dental difficulties such as filling loss, cracks, and chips can be frightening, but the issues are actually very common. It’s always important to see a dentist as soon as possible to assess the damage and avoid further complications. While we can’t always prevent these scenarios, it’s a good idea to visit the dentist regularly so we can identify possible risk factors. If you have any questions or concerns, or you need to make an appointment for preventive care, contact us. We want to help your smile!

Written by

John Cutting, DMD is an Annapolis dentist experienced in all aspects of dentistry. He provides complete care from general dentistry to cosmetic and restorative dentistry in his conveniently located and comfortable office, Edgewater Dental Arts.